Sunday, 31 May 2009

Diversity

Geographers will be familiar with Diversity as forming part of the new KS3 Programme of Study.
It is featured in the wording of one of the key concepts that students should be familiar with: CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING and DIVERSITY
One important aspect of this is that students appreciate that diversity is not just about difference but is also about similarity...

The KS3 PoS has a description which includes phrases like...
Appreciating the similiarities and differences between people, places, environments and cultures to inform their understanding of societies and economies...

So how does this DIVERSITY match that description ?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Diplomas

Spent the day at the East Midlands Conference Centre today for a consultation on Phase 4 Line of Learning for Diplomas, which include one called: "Humanities and Social Sciences". The original name (which still appears on the Diploma website) was a Diploma in Humanities.
The day was to look at the CRITERIA or Principal Learning.
These are the very concise statements which will then be used by the awarding bodies to produce the Specifications.
You can see the document that we used at the HUMANITIES DIPLOMA website, where there is also an online survey, but the last consultation event is tomorrow, so you may have to be quick.

Good to have the company of Jim McN and Pete S.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

End of the Line

If you are in Sheffield on the 9th of June, and fancy seeing a special educational preview screening of the film "End of the Line" at the Showroom Cinema, go to FILM EDUCATION. It is based on the book of th same name by Charles Clover. See also Taras Grescoe's excellent "Bottomfeeder" for more on this issue...

Primary Geography

Just been browsing the latest issue of Primary Geography, which is on the theme of Britain and Britishness. (A theme close to my heart thanks to the work that went into planning the Pilot GCSE Geography unit on this theme....)

There are plenty of excellent articles which would be of use to a secondary teacher, and I also love the huge poster that comes complete with a set of images that can be downloaded from the Primary Geography page of the GA website. These can be downloaded whether you subscribe to the journal or not, but as a taster for PG they offer a good incentive to consider adding a subscription to your membership...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Still using textbooks ?

If you are, and why not, here are 10 ideas for using the textbook in a different way to the usual...
David Rogers was filmed at the GA Conference recently, and the 10 ideas have become ten videos hosted at the website of FOLENS, who sponsored David's workshop.
You can also download the full 40 minute workshop (500 Mb ish) which has better quality video from the same webpage.
Could be used for a CPD session perhaps with colleagues ?

Here's example no. 1: Localise Case Studies


There are plenty of ideas here for taking a textbook and using it in a slightly different way:


Global Geographer

Just rediscovered an article I wrote back in December 2007 for an e-journal that never really took off...

TRAVELLING MAN

There’s a certain inevitability about the type of books that fill my shelves at home. As a lifelong Geographer, I have hundreds of travel books, lined up two deep on the shelves of bookcases decorated with old maps. Whenever I visit a new town the first port of call is a bookshop. If it’s a second hand bookshop I head for “Topography”. If it’s a chain store I head for the “Travel Writing” section. I scan the titles for books which are intriguing, well reviewed or by authors I am already familiar with, rejecting the ‘popular’ books on the familiar theme of “I bought this old wreck in [insert name of country here] and rebuilt it with the help of my grumpy neighbour who is now my best friend, and faced financial ruin, but with the help of my best selling book I now live very comfortably…”

Over the years, I’ve filled my house with books which cover the whole globe: from the Norfolk Coast outside my door to the furthest shores of Tasmania and everywhere in between.

If I was pushed to identify the early books in the genre that I bought, I would probably go back to the 1980’s and a book called “Arctic Dreams” by an American author called Barry Lopez. The book describes time spent researching and working in the High Arctic, particular Canada and Alaska, and the impact that the landscape has on the author. These are themes which Lopez returns to often in his writing. He talks about the influence of the early explorers on our impressions of the landscape which persist today. In the days before people travelled far, they often believed that the tales told by travellers were accurate, which led to the ‘Here be Dragons’ view of the unknown reaches of the world.

As Lopez says:

“Such a mental geography becomes the geography to which society adjusts, and it can be more influential than the real geography.” (Arctic Dreams, 1986)

The focus of geography has started to shift away from descriptions of the land and focused instead on landscapes that exist in the human mind. This has a particular resonance in Robert MacFarlane’s award-winning “Mountains of the Mind”, which explores the part that mountains play in our sub-conscious, and the reasons why people feel compelled to climb them. The book is subtitled “A History of a Fascination”. MacFarlane also wrote an excellent series of short extracts on the link between writers and the landscape in a series called “Common Ground”, which can still be read on the Guardian’s website (see the link at the end of this article)

Jonathan Raban is another favourite, and I remember sitting waiting for an ultimately fruitless job interview at a school somewhere in Nottinghamshire, and reading a book called “Coasting”. The title refers to the general act of meandering around with no particular destination (and has also been applied to schools who are content to ‘rest on their laurels’) He circumnavigates England in a small boat, and throws in a number of autobiographical passages about his family. This blurring of physical travel and internal searching is a familiar motif, and I recommend Jenni Diski’s “Skating to Antarctica” and William Fienne’s “The Snow Geese” in this area, as well as Raban’s more recent book “Passage to Juneau” which features some marvellous descriptions of sailing up the coastline between Seattle and Alaska.

Travel writing is a genre which has room for many different styles, and increasingly it is the search for a particular idea to ‘hang a book on’ which can make some recent offerings a little contrived and derivative.

Tim Moore has a successful approach to the subject. His books tend to focus on themes, developed with great use of self-deprecating humour. In “Frost on my Moustache” he travels through Iceland and Svalbard following in the footsteps and wheeltracks of a Victorian diplomat, and in “French Revolutions” he painfully attempts to follow the route of the Tour de France while exploring the way that the race has embedded itself into the French psyche.

 

Other travel writers are great stylists, such as Bruce Chatwin with his travels “In Patagonia” and through the Australian outback, with its landscape which has been ‘dreamed’ into existence through the stories of the indigenous population. There is also the journey made by Patrick Leigh Fermor through a pre-World War 2 Europe which has since been destroyed. In “A Time of Gifts”, he starts his journey in Holland in 1934, and over 70 years later the final part of his journey to Constantinople is still to be published. With some authors, Bruce Chatwin included, it is sometimes difficult to ‘believe’ their encounters were real, and the suspicion lingers that there is a certain amount of fabrication. This idea was taken to its extreme in a book by Harry Pearson called “Around the World by Mouse”, where the author sits in his house and circumnavigates the globe, gaining his impressions and images of other countries by visiting website and forums, and never actually physically travelling anywhere. The suspicion lingers that a lot of our travelling might actually be similar to Pearson’s ‘virtual’ travels: that we see only the parts of a country that others feel we should be seeing.

The idea that travelling in the mind might be preferable to actually enduring the physical discomfort of physical travel (something which might resonate with those trapped at Heathrow in the run up to Christmas this year) has been explored by Alain de Botton in his book “The Art of Travel”. de Botton introduces us to a book by J K Huysman, published in 1884, which has a Parisian hero called the Duc de Esseintes. The Duc buys a Baedeker guide to London and reads it, savouring the descriptions of the city. He is about to set off for London when he finds himself thinking “What was the good of moving when a person could travel so wonderfully sitting in a chair?” and stays where he is.

While doing my ‘A’ level English Literature studies back in the 1980s we were introduced to a short story by E.M Forster from 1909 called “The Machine Stops”. The story describes a future world where people live underground, never venturing onto the surface, as all their needs are met by the machine. The main character stays in her cell-like home.

There’s a useful line which describes where we may be heading at the moment.

“What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury ? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking ? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.”

Taras Grescoe has produced an excellent investigation of tourism in his book “The End of Elsewhere”, which suggests that we may never really end up going anywhere new, as the world becomes increasingly homogenised, and tourists the world over begin to experience the same things. He experiences many types of travel: pilgrimage, coach tour, cruise ships and 18-30 style holidays and asks a simple question “What are these people looking for ?”

Iain Sinclair, by contrast, delves deep into the layers and resonances that occur to him on his psycho-geographic wanderings around London. Try “London Orbital” where he circles the capital within the sphere of the M25 and discovers hidden secrets and fascinating stories on his own doorstep, which was presumably what he was looking for.

I could have organised this article in different ways. I could have explored particular continents, or the different genres of travel writing. There are the ‘adventure’ writers who are looking for extremes. I particularly like the Amazon adventures of Redmond O’ Hanlon who fearlessly imbibes hallucinogenic drugs, and swims with candiru fish in “In Trouble Again”. There is the approach applied by Bill Bryson who established his style with the first sentence of “The Lost Continent”: “I come from Des Moines – someone had to” and then ploughed a similar furrow (to amiable and comic effect) in a series of wildly successful books.

There are the restorers of old farms/castles/restaurants. There are the writers who endure mishaps and pratfalls, and the others who immerse themselves in a country, learn the language and live with the locals, such as Colin Thubron, who achieve something deeper and more substantial as a result.

People are now increasingly able to share their travels with others using the Internet, and particularly share their photos and images of their travels. There are plenty of journeys to be made, although I have in my book collection a huge variety which have already been documented: to find dinosaurs in the Congo, to visit the Mountains of the Moon, to carry a trombone to Santiago de Compostella, to do a pub crawl from the Isles of Scilly to the Shetlands, to trace the underground rivers of London, to track the properties on the Monopoly board and to travel round the USA in an old camper van… and many more!

In 2004, the Lonely Planet series published “The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel”. This introduced me to some new ideas. One of the ideas I tried myself in 2005 was the use of Yellow Arrows. These make a link between travel and Geography. The idea is to place a sticker in the shape of a Yellow Arrow at a location which means something to you, thereby contributing to a M.A.A.P (Massively Authored Artistic Project). You compose a text message which can be accessed by anyone dialling the number printed on the arrow. If you’re ever in Dundee, keep your eyes open for my arrows.

I’d like to finish by mentioning someone who wrote a book describing his great achievement of walking the European mountain divide in “Clear Waters Rising”. He went on to explore the length of the 2 degrees West line of longitude as it passed through England, setting himself the challenge of travelling from Berwick to Swanage    without deviating more than 1 kilometre from the straight line route. The author in question is Nicholas Crane, who has become familiar to millions through his “Map Man” TV series, and more recently the BBC’s popular ‘Coast’ series. At heart he is a traveller and a geographer. I quite like the idea of producing a geography scheme of work based on Travel Writing, something the Pilot GCSE Geography specification made possible to some extent.

Next time you’re in a bookshop, hunt out one of these titles, and go travelling without contributing to climate change with aircraft emissions.

If you would like to tell me your personal favourites, or send me your feedback on a book you’ve discovered through reading this article, please feel free.

Bibliography

“Arctic Dreams” – Barry Lopez (Picador, 1986)       

“Crossing Open Ground” – Barry Lopez (Picador, 1988)

“Mountains of the Mind” – Robert MacFarlane (Granta, 2003)

“Among the Russians” – Colin Thubron (Heinemann, 1983)

“The End of Elsewhere” – Taras Grescoe (Serpent’s Tail, 2004)

 “Killing Dragons” – Fergus Fleming (Granta, 2001)

“Coasting” – Jonathan Raban (Picador, 1987)

“Frost on my Moustache” – Tim Moore (Abacus, 1999)

“French Revolutions” – Tim Moore (Yellow Jersey Press, 2001)

“Do not Pass Go” – Tim Moore (Yellow Jersey Press, 2002)

“Skating to Antarctica” – Jenni Diski (Granta, 1997)

“The Songlines” – Bruce Chatwin (Picador, 1987)

“In Patagonia” – Bruce Chatwin (Picador, 1977)

“The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel” – Rachael Anthony & Joel Henry (Lonely Planet, 2004)

London Orbital” – Iain Sinclair (Penguin, 2002)

“A Time of Gifts” – Patrick Leigh Fermor (Penguin, 1978)

“Around the World by Mouse” – Harry Pearson (Little Brown, 2005)

“The Lost Continent” – Bill Bryson (Secker and Warburg, 1989)

“In Trouble Again” – Redmond O’ Hanlon (Penguin, 1988)

“The Art of Travel” – Alain de Botton (Penguin, 2002)

“The Snow Geese” – William Fiennes (Picador, 2002)

 

WEBLINKS

You can read Robert MacFarlane’s pieces at the Guardian site:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/commonground/0,,1547193,00.html

Order some Yellow Arrows and find out more at http://www.yellowarrow.net

And see a preview of the Lonely Planet book here:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/experimentaltravel

Barry Lopez: http://www.barrylopez.com

Check out WIKIPEDIA for articles on most of these authors


"the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes" - Barry Lopez

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Urban Earth Day - Hour 1

The first of 24 hour-long walks today: my nearest urban area was Hunstanton, so took the back roads to Old Hunstanton, then walked right across town to the end of South Beach. A few images that I took: Do a Twitter search on #ueday to read some of the other contributions...

Thrift image taken in my garden when I returned...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Scribble Maps


Another Google mapping website SCRIBBLE MAPS was also another Twitter discovery.

Weather Tweet

Another superb use of Twitter has emerged...
I love the way that teachers are making use of the immediacy of communication that is offered, and also the rapid way that your Personal Learning Network (PLN) can grow.

I've been invited to do a conference keynote next year which is designed to include a 'live' geography (as well as living geography) section, using TWITTER. Should be a little scary.

This will definitely go in (if it's still doing a similar task...)
It's called WEATHER TWEET.

The idea is that you write a TWEET in a particular format...
The symbols then appear on the map in the relevant part of the country....

Favourite View

Thanks to Julie Beattie for passing on details of this latest PLACE based web project.
This time round the focus is on a view...
STOOD THERE is searching for the greatest places to stand, and you can vote for the GREATEST PLACES TO STAND.
There are plenty of photos - what will you vote for ?

Are you a BETTing man ?

Spent a while this morning filling in an online seminar proposal form for next year's BETT show. So fingers crossed I might see you there...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Bristol session...


Spent today in Bristol: jewel of the west...

Over to the Frenchay Campus of the University of Western England to the very nice 'S' block which houses the School of Education: plenty of curving lines, large glass expanses and views across the city.
I was invited by Mark Jones to speak to the PGCE cohort class of 2009, who proved to be a very creative and enthusiastic group (I hope those who were absent for job interviews were successful !)
The session was another version of the ICT / social web / Living Geography presentation which has been used with a number of PGCE courses, all over the country:


Also check out a few of the other websites that I mentioned: 
Dan's URBAN EARTH walk across Bristol...


MP's expenses map

A topical mashup from Shoothill - MPs expenses....

More support...

Many thanks to those colleagues who attended, or contributed remotely to, the meeting today in Derbyshire.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss (and we certainly did lots of that) the support that is currently provided by the GA to teachers, and also those who support teachers, and whether there were areas that could be developed further.
Some discussion points were raised from the results of a survey of Suffolk teachers carried out the week previously, and also from some of the comments on the blog post, and also some personal e-mails, plus a few tweets...
Thanks also to David Rayner for the CfBT update as well.

Some discussion points that I think it would be worth sharing to see what you think of them: all comments are very welcome !

There is also currently a 'related' thread on SLN started by Stuart Hitch. More to come on this next week...

Portishead...

Not the band, but the place in North Somerset...
Dropped down there earlier, then got stuck in ridiculously slow queue back to the M5... probably won't be going there again...
It's apparently one of the fastest growing towns in Britain, and there did indeed seem to be a never ending sprawl of new build out towards and beyond the marina. Enjoyed pottering around the shoreline here, and looking across to Wales.
Image by Alan Parkinson

Monday, 18 May 2009

Beside the seaside...

Had a splendid day on the coast today with a group of Year 5's.Thanks to the staff at Wells Field Study centre for their teaching. Here are a few images as a taster of the day, which was blessed with fine weather.
It was interesting to see the enquiry approaches that were used, and the accumulation of some geographical language as the day progressed...


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Supporting Geography Teachers

Tomorrow, an event will take place in a hotel in Derbyshire to discuss some key issues for geography teacher support.
The Geographical Association has supported geography teachers ever since it was formed, but the nature of that support has to reflect a rapidly changing educational landscape. This means that it is perhaps time to consider the nature of the support that teachers want, and how the GA can provide it.

Some questions to think about:

What additional support do Geography teachers want / need, and in what format is this best delivered ? 

What kinds of support are possible / practical / desirable ?

How can this support best be provided ? 

What are the barriers to this ?

How can we let the ‘hard to reach’ know that the support is available and encourage them to make use of it ?

We hope to produce a resource to use by members of SGNG, which will hopefully evolve during the day as discussions are captured, and then be available after the event as an interactive resource...

You can contribute to the meeting in several ways – importantly, this can be done by those who can't attend in person.
1. Add a post to Twitter with the tag #sgng giving your thoughts on any of the questions that have been suggested – feel free to retweet (don’t worry if that means nothing to you...) 

2. Log in to the ETHERPAD document which has been created and make your contributions – remember to add your name and choose a contrasting colour: E-MAIL ME FOR THE DOCUMENT's URL

3. Join the Supporting Geography Network Group on the GA’s NING (http://geographical.ning.com) , and you will see some discussions which have been started around the key questions. Feel free to add a reply to one of those discussions

4. Add a comment to this blog post.

5. E-mail me for an invitation to the FLASH MEETING that has been booked for the afternoon session, when hopefully things will start to be pulled together to form a statement of aims for the new group.

6. Keep an eye out for the new GEOGRAPHY SUPPORT blog, which will continue to grow as the support develops.

Wellington Stories

A new project by neo-geography legend Noel Jenkins.
Wellington Stories is billed as a 'young people's geographies' project.
Check it out !


Saturday, 16 May 2009

Geoblogging again....

Keep an eye out for a new geoblog which will follow Mark Beaumont's new journey, which will take him from Anchorage to Ushuaia, taking in the summits of Mt. McKinley and Mt. Aconcagua. He will travel through 15 countries, and be on the road from May 27th (when the journey starts) until February 2010. The American Cordillera is the backdrop to the journey.

The official BBC BLOG: Cycling the Americas has got underway already. There will also be 
Subscribe to the RSS feed.

Mark's round the world journey was shadowed by his former Geography teacher Val Vannet, who teaches at the High School of Dundee.
The blog was called GEOBLOGGING WITH MARK. It has had over 50 000 visitors.

GEOBLOGGING WITH MARK AGAIN is our new joint blog, which will also feed into the work of the GA and the SAGT and also hopefully feature a range of guest bloggers.

Subscribe to the RSS feed from the blog - will let you know when the feed is active.

Finally, don't forget to buy the full story of Mark's journey: the book is now available to buy from shops and also AMAZON.

Follow Mark's new TWITTER FEED too.
You may have seen him on BCC Breakfast earlier this week.

Water Works

One of two new toolkit books which are now available to order from the GA shop.

Image of One water by Alan Parkinson

Friday, 15 May 2009

Mark Beaumont's new journey

...is now revealed to the world...
CYCLING THE AMERICAS

World record breaker Mark Beaumont is cycling from Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia in Southern Argentina. He'll also climb the two highest peaks on the continent, McKinley and Aconcagua. 

Mark climbing near Chamonix - image from BBC blog

Also check the FLICKR account.

Scenic or Not ?

This is an excellent 'time-waster'...

SCENIC OR NOT ? uses the images from the wonderful GEOGRAPH site.
Of course, used with students, some questions need to be asked...

How are you deciding what is scenic or not ?
What sways your score ? Does a building always count against the score / roads / pylons / fences or walls ?
Which images are gaining the highest scores ? Are they the 'obvious' ones ?

Which other questions would you consider ?

GA Magazine

The Summer edition is now available to download from the GA website (print versions will be arriving next week if you haven't already received it...)
It features a nice conference special report which goes behind the scenes.
Also Webwatch as always, plus a range of other interesting features. 

"You're fired..."

...as my Headteacher said to me last year... (only joking)
This week's apprentice featured a task that would be familiar to many geographers: the rebranding of a seaside resort
Daily Mail article gives a useful background to this: Rebranding Margate

Also check out this new video of rebranding a well known seaside resort:

Ian Gilbert

Was invited by Dale Banham to go to Belstead House, Ipswich yesterday...
This came out of my visit to speak at the Suffolk Geography conference last year, and also 
The day was called 'Engaging Geography', and was led by Ian Gilbert from Independent Thinking.
Ian is also the author of THUNKS: http://www.thunks.co.uk/
He is also behind the idea of  '8 WAY THINKING'.
Check out the GA Conference resources page for Lecture Plus 8 by Steve Rawlinson which develops this idea in the context of fieldwork.
Also a few downloads from the Independent Thinking website are worth using, such as an excellent PDF which summarises 8 way thinking in the context of the Around Deeply project.

The whole point of the day was to explore strategies for getting the brain working and engaging pupils as a result...
This was a thoroughly enjoyable day with a good lunch as well.
Many thanks to Tom, Dale and others involved in organising the day.

Kirk of the Antarctic

Thanks to Ollie Bray for adding a further Antarctica resource into the mix, following  my recent resource pack for 'Encounters at the End of the World'.
It's the blog of Kirk Watson: or Kirk of the Antarctic

Kirk is at Rothera base (which sounds a bit like Rotherham - my home town), except it has less (insert relevant service here...)

There is also a growing number of YouTube videos to accompany the blog posts.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

USA Today...

On the GA Secondary page of the GA website is a KS3 Scheme of Work put together by Jeff Stanfield.
Check it out, and download it...

Manchego a go go...

Just been dining 'al desko' (as always...) and livened up my salad with some thinly sliced Manchego cheese.
This became a favourite when visiting friends who lived in Madrid. It's a ewe's milk cheese, which has a nicely nutty taste. Noticed a nice sparkly hologram on the packet...

This is equivalent to the protected geographical indication we have for some UK foodstuffs...

Such as Arbroath Smokies
Image by Alan Parkinson

Flashmeeting Trial

Have just introduced GA colleagues to potential of FLASH MEETING.
Had a trial meeting to talk through the various features of this very cool application.
  • Face to face chat - join the queue to talk, or 'interrupt' the speaker
  • Chat box for additional 'back channel' conversations
  • Share URLs with other attendees
  • Upload and download documents in advance of the meeting for participants to share
The chance to record the meeting for later replay is also important...

If you want to chat about GEOGRAPHY and TECHNOLOGY, why not join the next Geography Flash Meeting.

Supporting Geography Network Group

A week to go until the meeting of the group to discuss ways of supporting geography teachers further...

You can contribute to the meeting in several ways – importantly, this can be done even if you can’t attend in person.

1.       Add a post to Twitter with the tag #sgng giving your thoughts on any of the questions that have been suggested – feel free to retweet (don’t worry if that term means nothing to you...)

2.      Log in to the ETHERPAD document which has been created and make your contributions – remember to add your name and choose a contrasting colour. You will need to request a login for the Etherpad document - if you are in the group, you should find this on the draft agenda that was sent round last week.

3.       Join the Supporting Geography Network Group on the GA’s NING (http://geographical.ning.com) , and you will see some discussions which have been started around the key questions. Feel free to add a reply to one of those discussions

4.       Add a comment to the blog post that I will put on my Living Geography blog the day before the event: http://livinggeography.blogspot.com

Monday, 11 May 2009

Billion Bag Challenge



Via OSOCIO

Digitally Exploring the School Grounds

Jamie Buchanan Dunlop has now added an excellent new resource to his Digital Explorer site, based on work with schools on exploring their grounds, and carrying out some investigations.
You can download a handbook of resources, plus a whole range of lesson plans, powerpoints and worksheets.
This is an incredibly useful resource...
Here's the video from the webpage to give you a flavour for what is available...
Liking the ideas funnel a lot !

British Sandwich Week

What's your favourite geographical filling ?

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Urban Earth Twitter Walk: 24th May 2009

Dan Ellison has another plan...

Another URBAN EARTH event - but just an hour and you may well not need to go too far to take part... Let's all do this one....

URBAN EARTH: DAY is a side project of urban earth. The idea is simple, text based and all going well will result in a 24 chapter book.

The idea is to gather together a subjective view of our urban habitat through a series of simultaneous global walks. What we sense, feel and think will posted as twitters as we go, creating a spontaneous urban portrait of where we all are.

The first walk will take place on a Sunday at 12:00(GMT)... but we will work around the clock. Two weeks later the walk will take place at 13:00(GMT).. until after 24 hours and 24 walks we have 24 chapters of a book... made up of our 140 character twittered thoughts.

So you'll need an hour, a city and a mobile phone for this one. Who's game?

Check out the URBAN EARTH NING to sign up....

Tweet using the hashtag #ueday

TLA - Hungry for more ?

One of my projects over the next month or so is to put the flesh on the bones of a unit that will go up on the Geography Teaching Today website.
The development of this unit is funded by the Teacher Learning Academy (TLA)

For those who don't know about the TLA:
The Teacher Learning Academy (TLA) has been operating for four years and more than 15,000 teachers have achieved, or are currently working towards attaining, professional recognition through the TLA. Currently over 300 schools across England are pilot TLA Schools or TLA Centres. The TLA is led by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), the professional body for teaching in England. The GTC's purpose is to help improve standards of teaching and the quality of learning in the public interest.

The unit will be related to FOOD and a series of curriculum resources will be developed, as well as a series of ideas for developing an appropriate progression through the sessions. As always, there will be a hefty dose of ICT in there, and some web tools.
We'll also be using feedback from the workshop at the GA Conference.

I would be interested in hearing from any teachers who use FOOD as a context for teaching geography and how they use it, so that we can weave some teacher case studies into the resource as well.

Urban Timelapse

I can never get enough of these...
First is via Digital Urban, and is the work of Samuel Cockedey

remanence : variance from Samuel Cockedey on Vimeo.

Remanence
a. The state of being remanent; continuance; permanence.
b. The magnetic flux remaining in a substance after the magnetizing force has been withdrawn.

Variance
a. A difference between what is expected and what actually occurs.
b. The number of thermodynamic variables, such as temperature and pressure, required to specify a state of equilibrium of a system, given by the phase rule.

Shot in Tokyo with Canon DSLRs (mostly 350d), processed with Lightroom (raw files color adjustment and resizing)/VirtualDub (deshaker/deflicker filters)/Sony Vegas (editing). Original rendered in full 1080 HD@30p.

Music is "Is That What Everybody Wants" from Cliff Martinez's superb soundtrack for Solaris, available from all major music outlets.

www.samuelcockedey.com


The second was a discovery via the comments on the first video

Winter Light - Northwest from edvard brun on Vimeo.

Thought for the day

"It's never the technology that entertains the audience. It's what you do with it."  
John Lasseter, Pixar

Innovative Geography Teaching Grants

The RGS-IBG offer a number of grants of up to £800 each year to support projects suggested by geography teachers.


Realised that I have quite a connection with many of those who have received these awards over the years...

Some interesting projects this year, including the Global Issues project at Chantry High School, Suffolk; Becky Kitchen producing Geography Video Diaries in Buckinghamshire; Anne Ridgway exploring tourism in Namibia; Bob Lang's Chinese art project link-up, and Pat Frean exploring how to heat some Plymouth schools.

In 2008, David Rogers took Geography on tour to produce resources for the new KS3 orders; Wilmington Enterprise College produced some podcasts for Key Stage 3 (does anyone have the direct link to these ?), Chris Lloyd Staples produced some virtual fieldtrips using Google Earth, and a Fairtrade fashion show was developed at the Belvedere Academy in Liverpool.

In 2007, Helen Gosnell produced a virtual fieldtrip to Zambia; the pupils of Morley High School in Leeds explored their local community; Jennifer Brindley produced podcasts in Lanchester; Adam Lawson made Geogdocs; Aylesbury High School explored the Vale of the White Horse, and Andrew Lee and students at Westminster Under School made a documentary DVD about flooding and the River Thames. In the same year (which seems to have been a bumper one for grants), an Edinburgh School aimed to investigate Place names, and Roger Tapping took the Geography roadshow around Sussex.

In 2006, Jamie Buchanan Dunlop did some early DIGITAL EXPLORER-type stuff in the High Atlas mountains, Garry Atterton tried to bridge the gap between primary and secondary, the Windows on our World project started collecting images for virtual fieldwork, and I received my second award for Google Earth: a Users Guide.

In 2005, the Leon Treasure Hunt Challenge took place in Milton Keynes, and Anthony Cheetham asked the mystery question: "Who killed G Joe Raphical" in Swnowdonia National Park; the Windows on our World project got underway as well.

In 2004, Noel Jenkins investigated rural food deserts in East Devon and West Somerset, and Dan Raven Ellison started his filming of 'Windows on the World' which were hosted on his school website. Since then, I have worked with both Noel and Dan many times, and they are two of the giants whose shoulders I stand on...

In 2003, Melissa Gardner explored Team Teaching with Sarah Todd (both former colleagues on the GA Secondary Phase Committee) and I started off my blogging journey with the Geo-Blogs project.

In 2002, Sally Hall produced some Geography Top Trumps and Keith James worked with a school in Shetland to develop role play and critical questioning. Longhill school in Rottingdean explored shanty town redevelopment, and finally, my old friend Ollie Bray
He worked on an online International weather station project at Knox Academy.

Click HERE to download a PDF of a report of the G Joe Raphical mystery in OS MAPPING NEWS.

Deadline is October each year - why not enter this year and see if you can get a grant to help you bring an idea you have to fruition....
Why not target an area that you already working on: KS3, new GCSE or A level specs, a transition project or a new idea for using GIS etc.

Richard Long

Something for one of my trips to London is a visit to Tate Britain to see the Richard Long exhibition: Heaven and Earth.
A very geographical artist, who engages with places.
Good Observer article:

"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking," wrote Nietzsche. Richard Long's great thought while walking was to make his walking into his art

Friday, 8 May 2009

What's in your sandwich ?

This clip (which may well disappear on the 12th of May) is superb for those exploring FOOD as an issue...


You should get out more....

Some ideas for getting outside the classroom now that summer's here. From the GA's Secondary Committee...

If you want to do some DOORSTEP GEOGRAPHY, there are plenty of ideas on the conference page of the GA website.
Here's a movie made by Dave Rogers following the Doorstep Geography workshop.

Doorstep Geography from David Rogers on Vimeo.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Encounters at the End of the World

Some teachers notes that I put together for the GA / Revolver Entertainment film showing at the Manchester Cornerhouse.

Prints out as a 6 page PDF version as well.

Available on SLIDESHARE.

Lunchtime



One of the (many) great things about working from home is that I can get out of the house, and within 5 minutes be somewhere rather nice. Here's where I ate my lunch today, and then spent an hour working thanks to my mobile broadband.
First 3 images taken in Thornham, and trig point is on the road back to Ringstead (the back way home)

How did the pig get on the roof ?

....the swine flew...

Great BRAIN POP animation



For those using the "Geography of Disease"

Real cycling....


There have been a few cycling-related stories in the last week or so...

Mark Beaumont is preparing for his next adventure, following his record breaking trip around the world. I know the details of the journey, and I could tell you but then I would have to kill you.... ;)
Keep an eye on the news in the next few weeks to hear all the details.

Real Cycling is a rather different cycling experience: http://realcycling.blogspot.com/

Are you a real cyclist ? 

Take the QUIZ

"Home made is better than shop-bought..."

...is what my granny used to say (and perhaps still does) about bread. Of course, she didn't make the full range of loaves that are available in a quality bakers, so if you want a varied diet, you may have to part with the cash...

At the moment, there are a number of collaborative documents that have been created by teachers, to gather together ideas relating to the use of particular web tools or software:


At this week's GEOGRAPHY FLASH MEETING (follow THIS LINK to go to a replay), there was talk of a few collaborative documents.
More on these in a future post....

Share your stuff !

Nice work by Kevin Cooper... Share your work via SLIDESHARE...
One of the other new opportunities to contribute comes in the form of a collaborative GOOGLE DOC started by Noel Jenkins.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

1976: a good year...

Just been browsing an exercise book of mine from 1976 for a reason that will become apparent in a month or so's time...
Here's a nice image from the first page of the book.

Also interesting to read what I wrote when asked the question: "What is Geography ?"
(Don't quote me on this...)

"Geography is the study of the earth and what goes on underneath it. There are things that go on underneath the earth that affect the shape of the earth, such as volcanoes and earthquakes, there are also things that go off on the surface of the earth that affect the shape of the earth.

There are two main aspects of Geography, one is physical Geography and the other is Human Geography. Things on top of the earth affect the actual shape of the earth such as mountains, valleys, rivers, hills and plains and plateaus. The two main aspects are Physical and Human. 

The Physical aspects of geography involves the study of such things as the sea or glaciers, the weather affects the shape of the earth. All these things are natural forces.
The other, Human Geography, involves the shape or relief of the earth by Man, such as war when bombs drop and make deep holes in the earth.

Building buildings and towns and cities also changes the shape of the earth. Open cast mining and blasting changes the shape of land.
Farming and transport also change the shape of the land, transport changes the land in the shape of canals and roads and bridges.
There are lots of things that change the shape of the earth."  (all sic)

Pretty good eh ? Did you get the point about the shape of the earth ?

For that, I got 2 ticks, a 'Good' and an 'A3'....

Living Geography: York - Book now !

The 2nd of the GA's Living Geography events will take place in York in June at the Royal Station Hotel.

Have just spent an hour or so re-writing my keynote to take account of the things that have happened since the first event in London: notably the rise of Twitter in  my personal learning network, and the launch of the Manifesto. Also rewritten my workshop on 'Everday Geography' as there have been a number of major world events since the last conference too.

You can book online, or by ringing Lucy Oxley on 01142960088

Big discount for GA members as always.

Hope to see some of you there.

Virtual stuff

Two virtual links for you to explore....

The first I discovered when looking at the website of the famous Beconskot model village.
It's a FLASH virtual village creator, which allows you to make your own little village.
The second is from the NATIONAL TRUST.
It allows students to be virtual gardeners and to sign up for a virtual garden called: "MY PATCH".
It's part of their FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD resource - which reminds me: I need to water my pumpkins...

A very merry Unconference...

Just signed up for the Open Source Schools Unconference
It's the first day of the summer holidays (which is nice), except of course with my new role at the GA, summer holidays are a thing of the past :)
Hope to see some of you there perhaps.
Sign up if you would like to attend.